The BJP-led government’s budget reforms have created a new work culture and they are transforming the socio-economic landscape of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday. After inaugurating the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ Investors Summit in suburban Bandra, he said the budget was not limited to outlay, its focus was on the outcome. Days after the presentation of the last full budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Modi said all the four budgets of his government focused on the upliftment of the needy. He pointed to schemes with definitive targets like clean fuel for all and healthcare for all. “Now, our state is policy driven, governance is performance driven, government is accountable, democracy is participative. We are making transparent ecosystem part of the new India,” he said. “We have taken governance to a level where intervention by the government is minimal. A country progresses when there is holistic vision which is inclusive and comprehensive,” the prime minister said. On budget reforms, Modi said changes like merging of rail budget, removing the “artificial wall” between plan and non-plan spends, advancement of the budget date had helped resources reach departments ahead of time and minimise monsoon impact. “Our focus is on development-policies based budget. In the last 3-4 years, budget reform and the change in thinking is developing a new work culture and also transforming socio-economic life,” he said.
In the recent budget, the government proposed resources of Rs 14 lakh crore to the agri and rural sector and also upped infra sector spend by over Rs one lakh crore, he said. Mentioning work on national highways, new rail lines, electrification, housing for poor and solar capacity, Modi said the pace of growth in infrastructure creation had increased by 2-3 times in every aspect. “In the last three and a half years, we have transformed the country from being ‘fragile five’ nation to one now looking at USD 5 trillion GDP,” he said. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state is aiming to increase its pace of growth of 9.3 per cent to become a USD one trillion economy by 2025.
Modi welcomed the vigour with which the states were attracting investments following the “success” achieved by Gujarat on that front, and exuded confidence that Maharashtra would achieve the ambitious target. “I am sure that Maharashtra will become the first trillion dollar economy in the country. Maharashtra’s development is representative of changes in the country,” he said. Modi also welcomed the investments garnered by Maharashtra at the Make in India summit two years ago, saying the state signed agreements entailing investments of Rs 4 lakh crore of which Rs 2 lakh crore had fructified. Fadnavis said the state had received investment proposals of Rs 8 lakh crore at MII, of which Rs 4.91 lakh crore are in various stages of implementation. He also enlisted a five-point plan for growth which includes focus on digital sectors, skilling agri workers, addressing the fintech opportunity, upping public infrastructure and creating growth corridors.
Mumbai’s crumbling infrastructure could dissuade potential investors from the financial capital, business leader Anand Mahindra said. “If Mumbai, the ‘crown jewel’, continues to groan under its weight, it will drive away investors,” Mahindra said, addressing the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ Global Investors Summit in suburban Bandra. Mahindra’s remarks, directed at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, were in a stark contrast to mostly laudatory remarks the BJP leader received from many Indian and global corporate leaders at the event. Besides Mahindra, the other industry captain to voice concern over the state of affairs of Mumbai’s infrastructure was Ratan Tata, who chose the state government-organised investor summit and the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to make public his concerns on the infrastructure front. Facilities on the ground may not be keeping up with the state’s faster economic growth, Tata said. “If the city begins to grow under its own weight and mismanages growth, then you may just as well turn away investors,” Mahindra said. “Apart from the promise of rural consumption growth, this state (Maharashtra) has a ‘bramhastra’. Cities are gateways to a state, they are the showcase of the ability of a country to execute our vision of the future. Mumbai is the most commercially exciting, robust city in the country. It is a jewel in your crown. But it is a double-edged sword,” he said.
Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons, who spoke before Mahindra did, said it is unfortunate that the infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with the growth, but quickly added that things are changing since the BJP-led dispensations have assumed power. “Unfortunately, over the years, industrial growth in Maharashtra has exceeded the ability of the state to provide infrastructure to support this,” he said. Industry leaders including Chanda Kochhar, Adi Godrej, Baba Kalyani, Mukesh Ambani, Ajit Gulabchand, Anil Agarwal, Richard Branson, Deepak Parekh, Sajjan Jindal and ministers Piyush Goyal and Suresh Prabhu were present.